Answered By: Jennifer Harris
Last Updated: Apr 17, 2017     Views: 787

It is always best to read the original or primary sources, but sometimes this is difficult if the original work was published in another language or was published in a book that is difficult to obtain. In such a case, you would need to cite the original or primary source in the text of the paper, but you would provide a reference in the reference list for the secondary source.  Also, it is important to remember that APA says to " 'use secondary sources sparingly, for instance, when the original work is out of print, unavailable through usual sources, or not available in English.' When the original work, the speech, is available through a 'usual source,'' sources that can be retrieved through ordinary publishing channels should be cited.

For more information, check out this video from NOVA Southeastern ot the APA Style website's FAQ posting on how to format a secondary source.

Example of a Quote by One Author Used in the Text of Another Book, Within the Text:

Secondary citation within the text:

According to Freud (as cited in Skinner, 1923), the characteristics ….

The document used is cited in the reference list:

Skinner, B. F. (1974). About behavioralism.  New York, NY: Knopf.

Notice that we made a point of mentioning Freud in the body of the paper so the reader would understand that any ideas being cited even though the actual book that discussed Freud's ideas was actual written by Skinner.

This information is intended to be a guideline, not expert advice. Please be sure to speak to your professor about the appropriate way to cite a secondary source in your class assignments and projects.

You may also want to consider:

For more information about citing secondary sources in APA Style, please visit our APA guide or contact the Learning Center (UC Students) or Online Writing Center (COCE Students).

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